Texas Town Evacuated After Chevron Pipeline Explosion

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(Reuters) – A pipeline operated by Chevron Corp exploded in rural Milford, Texas, on Thursday and while no injuries were reported residents of the town of 700 were asked to evacuate, said company and emergency officials.

Chevron did not identify the line, but it is the majority owner of a 2,295-mile common-carrier pipeline system that transports natural gas liquids from New Mexico and Texas to Mont Belvieu, Texas for processing.

Atlas Pipeline Partners has a 20 percent interest in the West Texas LPG Pipeline Limited Partnership, which is 80 percent owned by Chevron.

Tom Hemrick, director of Hill County Emergency Management, told KTVT-TV in Dallas that a construction crew accidentally drilled into a 10-inch liquified petroleum gas (LPG) line. All workers on the construction crew were accounted for.

“The fire is definitely getting smaller,” Hemrick said.

Another 14-inch line sits a few feet from the one that exploded and was still flowing because stopping it would increase the risk of a secondary explosion, he said.

Pipeline fire in Texas outside of Dallas

“It is still flowing because the flow cools the line,” he said.

Milford is some 50 miles south of Dallas and has a population of about 700 people, according to its website.

A local CBS-TV affiliate was broadcasting live from the scene and showed heavy flames rising from an open field where there appeared to be a drilling rig and several burned vehicles.

(Reporting by Edward McAllister, Jeanine Prezioso, Robert Gibbons and Sabina Zawadzki in New York and Anna Driver, Kristen Hays, Erwin Seba and Eileen O’Grady in Houston; Editing by Terry Wade and Bob Burgdorfer)